Walking and Bonding with Dogs
Walking is an important bonding activity with your dog! Imagine walking down a wooded trail on a misty spring evening, the deep browns and greens left after that recent rainfall, that thick wooded smell. Sure, this is pretty wonderful to you, but imagine what it’s like for your dog! Just think, with their spectacular sense of smell, this must really be something!
A Bonding Experience!
For any relationship to grow and flourish between owner and pet, just like any human relationship, time must be spent together. Dogs absolutely love walks because it not only provides good exercise/ a way to expend pent up energy, but gives them a chance to experience nature beyond that fenced in yard, to smell all the amazing and varied scents the world has to offer, to encounter other animals and people.
Guess what? They get to experience this amazing activity with you! Hence they’re going to make the association between these wonderful adventures and their owner, the person that is walking them. The psychology is simple; humans are no different.
Do you want to bond with your dog? You want a happy dog that enjoys being around you, right? Make sure you are providing activities that your dog enjoys, and better yet- participate!
A nice, brisk walk with your pup is both great exercise for you, and fantastic for them as well! Daily walks help not only keep your pet healthy, agile and limber, but also help maintain a healthy weight.
Walking and Weight
This is crucial; obesity in dogs is a huge issue among pet owners everywhere! Older dogs are prone to things like arthritis, not including a myriad of other problems that come with age; unhealthy weight is especially hard on arthritic joints. Diabetes can be an issue too; it isn’t just limited to humans.
Trouble Walking Your Dog?
Does your pup pull incessantly, always trying to get you to move faster? Does he bolt after random animals, jerking you every which way? Don’t worry; when it comes to training, there are simple ways, as long as done consistently, that are very effective!
Method Number One
Sit, Recall- to use this method, your dog must first know these two commands.
Stand next to your dog (attached to a 4-6 foot lead). Begin walking. If and/or when your dog reaches the end of this lead, and begins to pull you, simply stop. Don’t move; wait until your dog stops pulling, and call him back to you. As he returns to your side (or no longer in front of you), have him sit, and reward with a treat. Repeat this process; eventually, your dog should learn that he gets nowhere by pulling; pulling actually is detrimental to the walk. However, if easy dog walking takes place by your side, and your pet does not pull- the easy dog walking continues!
If you wish, you can continue to give treats on a regular basis as the dog walks beside you. He may look up at you, or stay next to you, because the reason you are giving him outweighs his desire to pull ahead. Remember to be consistent- repeat the same thing, every time.
As with most training, this isn’t going to come all at once. It may take a few days, or a few weeks. Eventually, though, you will notice your dog is pulling less often, then rarely at all! This requires patience, but the outcome will be worth it!
Method Number Two
You will need a pouch or pocket full of treats for this; preferably small training rewards. Start walking, as you did with method one. Every two-three steps reward your dog; pop a treat. It won’t take long before they are walking right next to you, watching your every move in anticipation! As you continue with training sessions, slowly lengthen the duration between treats. If your dog becomes distracted, and pulls in one direction, simply stop (as with method one). Use your recall, and resume.
With these first two methods, distraction is our enemy. You need to find a way to eliminate distractions, or limit them, as much as possible. In some cases, as with city-walking, this might not be possible; so try to make the reward seem more interesting than the distraction! Add praise!
Talk about bonding experiences- this is yet another fantastic way to make sure your pet makes great, enjoyable associations with their walks… and you!
The Right Leash
It’s important to choose the right lead for the activity (type of walk/area); you want your pup to be as comfortable as possible! You also want something that isn’t going to hurt your hands, break, or degrade. If training is your goal, about a six foot lead is usually ideal; you don’t want to provide too much room or have your dog hopping to stay next to you either.
Are you thinking about a walk in the park? You might want to consider an extendible flexi-lead, but they can get wrapped around objects and people if their is heavy foot traffic. Nylon leashes are nice, but can easily leave ‘leash burns’ on hands or legs (consider a paper cut, but the size of a dog leash). Leather leashes are fancy, but tend not to hold up under weather; they can easily become brittle and break. Chain link leads are tough, but can be painfully hard on the hands.
Don’t you wish they made something that works for the all-around pet walker? Well, guess what- now they do!
Not only is the Pet Lover’s Two Layer Dog Leash the ideal six foot length, super strong, weather proof and short enough to keep dog tethered, it is extremely comfortable! There’s no more nylon burns with this one with its’ cushioned handle; it’s very easy on the hands. Its’ bright red coloring is both attractive and very visible. And best yet- this leash will cost you half of what you might pay at larger corporate pet stores!
It’s extremely important to have not only a good leash for your walk, but the ‘right leash’. In the end, you want your walk to be a fantastic experience for your belove pet!
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